New Year's Eve

We're just not party animals here.

Jonathan has to be at work at 5am tomorrow morning, so he's already headed to bed.

Jess is watching... gasp! football!! Okay, no surprise there. Earlier today he got the storm door installed on the back door, so now both entrances have a storm door.

I spent the day making homemade vegetable-beef soup, running the sweeper, mopping the kitchen floor, doing the usual outside chores, answering some email and snail mail, and working on a newsletter, and so on.

Jess and I may stay up long enough to make it to midnight and New Year's. We lead such exciting lives, ha!

Did I mention we're just not party animals?


I get asked a lot of the same questions over and over about my health problems, which very few people really understand. Part of that is my own fault, because I try not to talk about it much. However, I've heard these a lot lately, so for anyone who might actually be interested, here’s a list of “Frequently Asked Questions” with my “usual” answer, and then a fuller, more realistic explanation.

Q: How’s your back pain?
A: About the same as always. Some good days, some not-so-good.

Explanation: The thing is, “back pain” is kind of misleading. When most people think of back pain, they’re thinking of lower back pain – such as compressed disks in the lower back causing pain. That is NOT my problem. I have thoracic neuralgia. It’s also been diagnosed as an uncommon form of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Whatever you call it, the pain originates on the right side of my spine in the area near the bottom two ribs, and runs along those ribs to the front, ending at the sternum (breastbone). Those nerves went haywire and send pain signals for no discernable reason. This is turn causes a hypersensitivity of the skin on the right side of my back and chest of varying levels. Sometimes it feels akin to a sunburn when something touches my skin, sometimes it’s closer to a bad 2nd degree burn sort of feeling.

Q: “Is your chronic pain all better now?”
A. About the same as always.

Explanation: Please note the definition of chronic: “Of long duration, continuing.” or even “Relating to an illness or medical condition that is characterized by long duration or frequent recurrence.” If it’s chronic, it’s not going to get all better.

Q: Well, just what IS your problem then? What caused it?
A. Chronic pain and fibromyalgia, and the doctors don’t know.

Explanation: The chronic pain is caused by both the thoracic neuralgia and fibromyalgia at this point. The thoracic pain I described above, but will add that it also causes a sort of cascade effect sometimes, making muscles tighten up and spasm on my right side from my neck and jaw area down to my hip. The doctors did several tests but really don’t know what caused this problem.

However, the chronic thoracic pain is the most likely trigger for the fibromyalgia that followed. Fibromyalgia is defined as a “syndrome characterized by chronic pain, stiffness, and tenderness of muscles, tendons, and joints without detectable inflammation… and also causes undue fatigue.”

For many years doctors wouldn’t concede it’s a real problem, but as more and more people have it, and more and more research has been done, unless they’re really out of touch, they have to admit it’s real, and “not all in your head.”

Q. Have you tried going to a pain doctor? (Medication, surgery, etc.)
A. Yes


On doctors - I went from regular doctors to neurologists to pain doctors, and it seems about everything in-between. Chiropractor, acupuncturist, gastroenterologist, neurosurgeon, cardiologist, physical therapist, even a Rolfing expert.

On Medicines: I’ve been on antidepressants, heart medications, pain meds, anti-seizure medications, and just about anything that has ever been tried to control chronic pain. Lyrica, Neurontin, Guaifenisen, Effexor, and the list goes on and on. I don't react well to most medications. The bottom line for me, just ME, on medications is this: NONE of them helped enough to make them worth the side effects.

On Surgery: I’ve had my gallbladder removed, a lumbar Laminectomy, nerve blocks, and tried a spinal nuerostimulator implant. No improvement with any of them, and some even left me worse than I started. It would take a lot to convince me to try anything else.

On etc.: I’ve also tried a TENS unit, lidocaine patches, direct injection of anesthetic type agents, massage of the surrounding areas (NOT where the thoracic neuralgia is!)… I can’t even remember it all.

The bottom line is this: If there’s something touted for chronic pain or fibromyalgia, I’ve probably tried it.

The one thing left for fibromyalgia, which I’m trying now, is a combination of therapies prescribed by The Fibromyalgia & Fatigue Center, addressing several problems that come with the fibromyalgia syndrome. I’m hoping this will help the pain caused by the fibromyalgia, so “all” that’s left to deal with is the original thoracic neuralgia.

And there you have it, answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions I hear about my health.

Please excuse this temporary interruption...

It's raining here. We've had rain off an on the last few days. Last night a thunderstorm, some heavier storms off and on today with about an inch of rain.

Rain = pain. Something about rainy weather really aggravates my fibromyalgia pain. So I'm a little behind on writing and about everything else this week.

Stay tuned, I'll be back.

Going Green for Christmas

Richard called yesterday to wish us all a Merry Christmas, and one of the things we talked about was decorating for Christmas. Or to be more precise, my LACK of decorating for Christmas.

A few years ago I bought an artificial tree on sale at Lowe's after Christmas. It's about 4' tall, with fiberoptic strands that turn different colors, and a string of miniature lights. It costs all of $20 if I remember correctly.

This year, I put a Christmasy tablecloth over a teacart (family heirloom - not something I'd go out and buy!) and had Jonathan carry this little tree up from the basement and plop it down on the cart. Jess found an extension cord for it, and Viola! I was finished decorating for Christmas.

Okay, so the tree isn't exactly 'going green' for Christmas, but I've had it for years, so I used it. But take a look at the packages. You won't see any fancy Christmas wrapping paper there!
No, instead I used the paper bags that you put frozen groceries in to keep them from thawing out while you finishing shopping and an old roll of priority mail tape. Not to mention reusing some plastic bags from stores, and a pillowcase or two.

No fancy paper, no bows, no lights or other decorations all over the house. We didn't use up a lot of throw-away wrapping paper or electricity. Instead we recycled paper bags, and used very few lights. We conserved trees and energy. We 'went green' for Christmas.

It has nothing to do with the fact I just didn't feel like decorating. Or that I was maybe a bit of a Scrooge. Nope, we were doing our bit to 'go green' and help the environment.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

A note about the pictures in this blog...

Regarding the previous post, with the photo of the moon and poem -- Jess informed me I should make note that I took the picture and wrote the poem.

Okay, here's my note: Everything on my blogs - all the writing, all the pictures - are my own, unless I say otherwise. I believe in giving credit where credit is due, so if I use a photo or anything from another place, I say where I got it.

So now you know!

Merry Christmas!!!


It’s an evening for family gatherings and special church services. I went with Jess to the Christmas Eve service at his church. It was a lovely service and I enjoyed it, but was forcibly reminded why I do NOT attend church on a regular basis any more.

Church people can be very friendly. Normally, that’s a good thing. But when you have thoracic neuralgia, and people persist on patting you on the back, it quickly becomes a BAD thing. These people mean well, they just don’t realize what pain they’re causing at that moment, and how it will precipitate pain for some time to come.

Then there’s the whole “stand up to sing” thing… sit down for a while, stand up again, sit, stand, sit… you get the idea. Difficult when your body doesn’t want to cooperate.

And last, but certainly not least, there’s the pews. Ah, yes, the pews. I thought maybe I had exaggerated in my mind how hard it is to sit in those pews. I figured it probably wasn’t as bad as I remembered. I was right about that. It wasn’t as bad as I remembered. It was worse.

I don’t know what it is about sitting in those pews. They do have some padding, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference. Before long the muscles in my right side start tightening up, from waist to neck, and there is no way to get comfortable. Having muscle spasms while sitting in church is NOT a good thing.

After only an hour in a church service, I’m down for the count. It started out great, but by the time it was over… well, it’s hard to concentrate on songs and sermons when the pain is clouding your mind.

I’m glad I was able to go, but it was a stark reminder I can’t do everything I would like to do, and the pain does impose some limitations. Still, I walked in and I was able to walk out. I came home to supper in the crock pot, and presents under the tree. I have family and friends that care about me, and a roof over my head. I have Christmas to remind me God sent his only son into the world, starting a chain of events that would end in a pathway for salvation.

All things considered, I’m very blessed.

Making a list and checking it twice!

Yes, I'm making a list and checking it twice, but it's not Santa's list. It's my grocery store list.

I've been looking through cookbooks this afternoon and trying to get ideas for new recipes to try, and otherwise working on the menus for this week. Changing your diet and what you can eat means changing your usual recipes and style of cooking.

I know somewhere down the road this new regime will be the "usual" -- but for now, it's new, and it's a LOT of work to figure out what we can eat, and what I need to get at the store. I'm not to the point of being able to do many spur of the moment "what are we going to eat?" meals. I need to plan ahead.

Have I mentioned I hope all this extra work is worth it?

I love mail!

I love mail any time. Email, snail mail, it doesn't matter. I just love mail! Even better is all the goodies at Christmas. There are cards, and newsletters, and packages! Ooooooo, packages! Lots of fun!!!!

We got one today that's takes the prize for creative addressing, guaranteed to bring a smile to your face:
First, there's that cute little face in the return address corner. Ellie pictures always make me smile! Then there's the names in the "addressed to" section. Grandma & Grandpa gives me the warm fuzzies, but Uncle Geek? That's makes me laugh!

Ellie has two uncles, and both have names that are hard for her to say. Jonathan became Uncle Geek last time she (& those big people she hangs out with) visited. It didn't take her any time to connect the name to the person!

Great addressing Richard!
And Merry Christmas to us - Grandma & Grandpa King & Uncle Geek!

Christmas Newsletters

Christmas is almost here. I’ve been enjoying all the cards in the mailbox, and yes, the form newsletters! I’ve heard many people disparage newsletters, and will admit I once thought the same. I’d never write one!

Well, times have changed. I realize people can’t sit and write a long, newsy letter to every one of their friends and relatives. Who has the time in our ever busier lives?

The next best thing is the “form” newsletter – one size fits all. Well, it works that way with newspapers, why not a newsletter? It’s a great way to pass along the family’s happenings for the past year, and touch base with friends and relatives you don’t speak to very often.

These days I treasure every word in every newsletter I get.

Snowball, the Dancing Cockatoo - Ambassador for Bird Rescue

Note: If you read both this blog *and* "Rural Ramblings", you're going to see this exact same entry twice, but there are some people who only read one blog or the other, so I put this on both.

This little video was first seen on the web May 9th, on the Bird Lover's Only Rescue website, and has become such a big sensation! My favorite clip is that first one, which can be seen on the Bird Lover's Only Rescue site. I've had the link for weeks, and every time I watch it, this bird makes me laugh. However, there is a longer version they posted on YouTube that I could share:

The video clip of Snowball dancing made Time Magazines top 10 list for Best Web Videos.

Snowball has been on the David Letterman show, but that clip isn't nearly as entertaining. I feel sure Snowball was intimidated by the change in environment, and all the noise the band and audience were making.

Now Snowball is going to be featured on Animal Planet's show, "The Year in Animals." The first airing is this Saturday, December 22nd, 8pm Central.

Besides being highly entertaining, this little video of Snowball makes an important contribution in educating people. I imagine a lot of people didn't even know there was such a thing as bird rescue organizations. I imagine a lot don't realize how many birds NEED to be rescued.

They look pretty in the cage, and many people are in love with the idea of having a bird. Once they have one, the reality is sometimes quite different than they imagined. Birds are messy. They need a better diet than just seeds and water. They need good lighting. They need toys. They can be destructive, because they need to chew. It's a natural behavior, and they don't distinguish between their chew toys and your good furniture. Having a parrot is like having a perpetually teething puppy.

They need attention. The parrot family especially, because of their high intelligence, are quite needy. An African Grey, for instance, is reported to have the emotional level of a 2-year old, and the intelligence of a 5-year old. Would you leave a 5-year old in a crib or playpen at all times? Well, guess what, you shouldn't confine a parrot in a small space 24/7 either.

They need change! They need a stimulating environment. And yes, they need love. DON'T get a parrot unless you are willing to live with the mess and give one the time and attention it deserves. You won't be happy with the resulting chaos, and the bird won't be happy confined and ignored.

Snowball's "mom" wrote a very good piece about the difficulties of owning a parrot, and why so many end up in rescue. I think the main difficulty is people don't take the time to learn about the creature they want to own, what kind of behavior to expect, and what it needs to thrive. The first time they get bit, they think they have a BAD BIRD. More likely, the bird was frightened, or it was the result of a BAD OWNER, because they didn't understand how to interact with the bird.

My own parrot, an African Grey, is a rescue bird. Her previous owner bought her at some sort of bird show. She had NO idea what she'd gotten into. She just "wanted some company." Reading between the lines after talking to her, I suspect she got bit and was thereafter afraid of the bird. She scooted the bird out of the way with a flyswatter when she needed to put food in the bowls.

The parrot had a bare chest and no tail feathers. She told me the bird was moulting. I didn't contradict her, but I knew better. This one had just been moved to a new environment. African Greys are notorious for feather picking when stressed, and it often becomes a habit, much like biting fingernails is for some people.

Why buy an animal if you don't know how to take care of it, or at least are willing to learn how to do so? Owning an animal brings responsibility for that animal. Who else will care for the animal, and be sure it has what it needs to thrive? It doesn't matter if it's a bird, rabbit, ferret, horse, cow, pig, or whatever.

Bottom Line: If we buy any animal, taking it into our care, it's our responsibility to learn how to care for it properly, then DO IT. If everyone did that, we wouldn't need so many bird, dog, and all kinds of other rescue organizations. There are a lot of cute animals out there, but please be sure you're ready to take care of one properly before you give into that impulse to buy one.

You'll both be a lot happier that way.

Phase Two (or Three?)

Actually, I’m not sure what “phase” this is. I went to the Fibromyalgia Clinic, and I already started the 3-month eliminate-the-sugar diet, so maybe this next stage is actually phase three.

So what is Phase Three? Supplements, lots of supplements!

I finally sat down with my bag of goodies today, and set up a schedule for starting all these different supplements, vitamins and medications. I staggered it so I start something new every 3 or 4 days, hopefully giving enough time between each new addition to make sure I don’t have any side effects from it.

Today’s addition was prescription strength Vitamin D. My bloodwork showed I was deficient, so I’m supposed to take one capsule a week for 12 weeks. Must be potent stuff!

I’m moving forward, albeit very slowly. I’m just hoping all this stuff actually helps!

Presto Change-O!!!! Dad’s new HP Printer Mailbox!

I saw a commercial on tv a while back, and the product really intrigued me. Essentially, it’s a color printer that can receive e-mail, pictures and newsletters without being hooked up to a computer. All you have to do is plug it into a phone jack (and electric of course). Since my dad is 81 years old, and not up to date on computers, it sounded like a cool idea.

I got online and started researching this “printer mailbox” and the Presto Service that goes with it. I read their propaganda (excuse me! information!), then I started surfing around looking for reviews on the service from more impartial people. Most people had good things to say about the mailbox and service, so I pitched the idea to my sister and sister-in-law, and we went together and bought Dad the printer and a year’s service for Christmas.

It is sooooo cool.

I had the printer sent here first, so I could set it up to test it, and get the security code I needed to set up the online administrative account. Once that was done, I packed it up and sent it off to Dad. He got it today, and called with a couple of questions. It wasn’t long until he had it all set up.

Since I’m administrator for his account, I can go online and see when the printer last dialed in and printed out his email, how much ink is in his printer, and if he has paper in the printer. He just set it up today, and has already got email twice. Neat, huh?

You can schedule the printer to dial in up to 5 times a day for email. If you’re impatient, there’s a cheat code (hold down the stop button, press the increase volume button twice) that causes the printer to go ahead and dial in to check the email box.

I hope it will be a good way to keep Dad up to date with stuff going on with “us girls” and our families. The downside is there is no way for him to answer using this mailbox. It’s strictly one way, but I suppose if you got complicated enough to allow email both ways, you might as well be using a computer. The idea is to keep things simple, and they’ve done that.

So Presto Change-O! Now Dad can get email!

Day 15

I’m two weeks into the eliminate-the-sugar diet, and so far hanging in there, despite serious temptations. Jess bought home a 2# box of assorted Russell’s chocolates one day – a gift for me from a friend of his. The candy wasn’t a surprise, as this dear man gives me a box every year, so I was prepared and immediately tucked it away in the meat drawer of the refrigerator. I’ve got plans for that box of chocolates in 2 and a half months, ha, ha!

Going grocery shopping presents even more temptations. ‘Tis the season for chocolate covered cherries, which I dearly love. There are stacks and stacks of boxes of those luscious morsels in the aisles, but alas! Not one may pass my lips for some time yet!

Everywhere I go, there are cakes and cookies and candies lurking, ready to jump in my mouth! I hear them calling my name, a siren song of sugar seduction.

“Stand fast, stand fast, NO sugar…” has become my most oft repeated mantra.

So I continue on, and I must admit, it’s not such a constant hankering anymore. The addiction doesn’t have me so tightly in its’ grip, but still… once in a while I still get a real craving for some CHOCOLATE!!!

As for the other aspects of my needed health changes, I have yet to sit down and take the time to go through all the stuff I’m supposed to do, and set up a timetable to start doing it! That’s next up on the agenda, but for now, at least I’ve got 2 weeks down on the shake-the-sugar diet!

Stand fast, stand fast, NO sugar….

Another one of those days...

You know, one of those days you wonder why you ever bothered to get out of bed. Today’s tortures included the following:

* Not being able to log into a credit card site I’ve used for months and months, years even! All of a sudden it didn’t recognize my user name and password. I thought, “Well, maybe I changed the password and didn’t remember doing it.” I tried inputting our credit card number and information like birthdate and social security number. They still didn’t believe we had an account, call the 800 number!

After wading through several sets of menu options, none of which fit the situation, I finally got a live person. Unfortunately, she didn’t know what she was doing. Eventually she gave me a different number to call so I could try someone else. They still wouldn’t believe we ever had enrolled for an online account. ARGH!!!!

I finally had to just start over and enroll us like we’d never done it before. Fixing that glitch wasted most of the morning. What a pain.

* Not being able to switch our credit card account with “Company Bogus” to another one of their accounts that allows you to earn air miles. No, once again, you have to start over and apply for a whole new credit card. What interests me even more is the account we have now charges a $20 yearly fee, and NO rewards. The one with air miles has NO yearly fee. Does that make sense?

* Not being able to remodel the bathroom as planned between Christmas and New Year’s. We went to Lowe’s today to check out what we needed to buy. It didn’t take us long to realize it was going to take more than the week and a half's time we have before Christmas to order coordinating colors for the vanity top and commode, and plan out exactly what we’re doing and what we need. I’m going to have to spend some time on the planning and Jess will just have to take time off later for this project.

* And absolutely #1 on the hit parade of Today’s Tortures - Coming out of Lowe’s and finding a ticket on the windshield of the car. It seems my Disability Placard isn’t legal. What???? I flagged down a lady driving around in the parking lot giving tickets to ask her why she gave me a ticket and showed her my placard. Turns out she wasn’t the one who gave me the ticket and after looking at my placard, she didn’t know why the other lady gave me a ticket. Within 5 days I have to either pay the ticket or go to court and contest it. Talk about a real day brightener – NOT!

* Stopping to eat lunch and getting overcharged for something I ordered, then having to fuss with the lady at the register to get it changed.

* Seeing dark clouds as we near home and realizing it’s raining and the animals can’t get into their shelters.

Talking about dark clouds, I think one of those dark jinx type clouds must have been hovering over my head today.

Sure hope tomorrow is a better day!!!

The Terrific Twosome Turned Loose

Fayetteville may never be the same. My friend, Sharron, and I went shopping there Tuesday. That in itself is a rare occurrence, as neither of us like to shop so it's not generally our idea of a fun outing. But Christmas is coming, so shop we must. I guess we figured misery loves company, and off we went.

We were mostly in search of clothes, so our first stop was Peebles. I headed for the men's department, while she took off to the ladies. I went down my list, trying to find the items I needed at a reasonable cost. I discovered my idea of reasonable and the retailers idea didn't mesh. However, much of what I needed was on sale, so I really can't complain. Well, not too much anyway.

In the meantime, Sharron was haunting the women's section, looking for a dress suitable to wear to her son's wedding. I think she was wildly successful. She found a beautiful dress that looked beautiful on her and had a beautiful price. Can't hardly beat that combination! Even better, it's not a "wedding only" dress, but could be worn for other special occasions. I told her she should buy it, cause what more could you ask?

Anyway, Peebles didn't have everything I needed, and I wanted to pick up some prints I'd ordered from Walmart, so we headed there. They didn't have a thing I needed on the clothing list. We couldn't think of anywhere else to go in Fayetteville that carried men's clothing, so Sharron got the bright idea we should look for someone well-dressed, and ask them if they knew of someplace.

While she was off looking for something in a different part of the store, I saw a young man in a really nice coat, so figured I'd give Sharron's idea a try.

"Excuse me..."
And again, closer now, "Excuse me..."
The young man glanced up, and I said, "Yeah, you."
I told him I really liked his coat, and wondered if he bought it in Fayetteville somewhere.
He grinned and said, "No, I got it in London."

London! Wow! So much for the idea of going shopping there! I don't think we could have made it to London and back that afternoon.

However, before we got out of the store, a well-dressed elderly lady was headed in, and Sharron stopped her and asked if she knew of any shops that carried men's clothing in Fayetteville. She was sorry, but no, she didn't.

We went on out to the car, figuring we were out of options and done for the day, when all of a sudden, there was someone pounding on Sharron's window. It was the little old lady we'd just talked to. Here she'd ran out in the parking lot to try and help out two perfect strangers. (That's us all right - we're perfect, and we're strange! But probably beyond help...) Anyway, she'd remembered a store in Fayetteville that carried men's clothing, so we thanked her profusely, and decided we'd go check it out.

We found the store, looked in the windows and rolled our eyes, but went in anyway. We didn't check out too many price tags until we'd decided shopping there might be a luxury experience I couldn't afford. Just as well they didn't seem to have anything on my list.

Since we were already in downtown Fayetteville, we checked out a few more places, but didn't find anything of interest. At least, not until we ended up in the fabric store. Sharron is an expert seamstress, so she was like a kid in the proverbial candy store, though she restrained herself and didn't buy much.

By the time we got back to the farm, I was pretty well done in, but it was a successful trip. We got a lot of stuff crossed off our lists, had an interesting time, and maybe even had a little fun!

And oh yes, I'm sure Fayetteville will eventually recover.

Our Calendar Girl

I finally got the copy I ordered of Ellie’s 2008 calendar earlier this week. This calendar is HUMONGOUS! It doesn’t fold in the middle like last year’s calendars, so it comes in a really big cardboard sleeve. I guess that might be part of the reason it took a week to arrive, instead of the 2-3 days it’s supposed to take for priority mail.

The pictures came out GREAT!!! (Okay, I see little bits here and there I might change – I never think a picture is perfect, but I think they’ll look pretty good to anyone else.)
I spent some time going over the calendar and “proofing” it. I got out a commercially produced calendar and double-checked the dates. Richard and I checked and re-checked them… and yet, there it was, the dates were wrong for the start of spring and fall. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN???

Our nerdiness came back to bite us in the butt. When we were checking dates for the calendar, there we were sitting at our computers, so how did we check them? Why, we looked on the web, of course!

When I went back and checked again on the web, trying to see how we managed to mess up those dates, I figured out where we went wrong. On the web, the dates were listed for UT time. Uh-oh. Universal Time is the time along the prime meridian (0 longitude) that runs through the Greenwich Observatory outside of London, UK.

That’s not where we’re located, now is it? So on a couple of the dates, the time was just enough different that in one case the season started a day earlier here, and in the other, a day later.

Back to the publishing site, fix the dates, let it re-convert the files, and end up with a NEW and IMPROVED version of the calendar.
Richard did this picture. Isn't it cute?!!!

After I got it all fixed up, I input all the orders we’ve received so far, plus ones I wanted.

It’s a great looking calendar. If you’d like a calendar of one very cute little girl, don’t miss out!

Catching Up

After giving my dear daughter (in-law) a pep talk about blogging regularly, I realized I’d better look to my own. (Is that a beam in my eye???)

Here it is, only 10am, and I’m exhausted. I’ve been up since 6:30am, which isn’t so bad, but it’s been busy. First thing I did was fix Jess’s lunch. We’re on week two of the G.I. eating plan. In case you’re not familiar with it, that stands for Glycemic Index, NOT a military type G.I.. And I say eating plan instead of diet, because this is supposed to be a life-long change, not another starve-yourself-diet to lose weight, then gain it all back when you go off the diet.

Granted, food choices are more restricted at first if you DO want to lose weight, but the overall plan is to make a long-term change of your food choices so you eat healthy food regularly.

I’m modifying my food choices even further at first since I’m also supposed to eliminate sugar for 3 months. It’s almost impossible to have NO sugar in your diet, because for one thing, it’s difficult to be sure exactly how much sugar is in the food you buy. Sometimes labels are deceptive. Even trying to buy food as unprocessed as possible doesn’t always guarantee there aren’t any additives. (I’m writing about this soon over on the Rural Ramblings blog.)

And of course, some foods have natural sugars, and I'm supposed to avoid those too.

Also this morning, I’ve worked on my humor mailings. Monday takes the longest because I set up templates for all the mailings for the week. It’s a time-saver in the long run to do that, because once I go to a website for information – like sunrises and sunsets or holidays – I do it just once for the whole week instead of going back to several websites every day.

Next up I did the outside chores. It’s warm here today, which means it’s a good day to clean out water buckets. (I hate doing it on cold days!) That takes a while, and dumping water is tiring. Tipping over buckets doesn’t sound so bad, but it entails bending over and I stay hunched over to spray the junk off the sides and bottom of the buckets. And dumping the pools is a real killer. I do it left-handed since the thoracic pain is in my right side, but it still aggravates the all-over-my-body fibromyalgia.

After that I took a card out to the mailbox, and stopped on the way back to put a few sprigs of mint in the dirt. I’ve had them in water for weeks, and pretty soon it’s going to freeze the water and kill the mint, so I figured I’d better just GET IT DONE.

Once back inside I put some chicken in the slow cooker for supper, and now here I am.


Happy Holidays?

Merry Christmas? Happy New Year? Really???

I feel for people who are all alone, so have no one to spend the holidays with. That has to be sad. And I feel for our military personnel far away from home and spending their Christmas on foreign soil. They have their comrades with them, so they’re not all alone, but that’s not the same as being safe at home with family. And missionaries “on the field” - they usually have at least some of their family with them, and hopefully not in a war-torn country, but they’re still far from home.

I’m home, and I have some of my family here (though only a small part). Still, I can’t get into the "spirit" of things. I don’t go to holiday parties. Socializing is too difficult physically and emotionally. I don’t see church or school or other public Christmas programs. Sitting for long periods of time in hard backed chairs just doesn’t work. Going shopping? Beyond tiring and pain provoking.

So I’m not finding too much that’s merry about Christmas, or thinking happy thoughts about the New Year. Just another couple of days, just more tasks to think about, and right now I’m tired and I hurt, so…

Merry Christmas? Happy New Year? Really??? Says who?

Looking for better days ahead...

I'm afraid it's going to take a while to get there though. That's kind of depressing. I know I've got to work on what I eat, and changing my lifestyle, but it's tough to keep going when your body doesn't want to cooperate. Chunking down 3 Aleve doesn't get it. The pain is still there. So's the tired-to-the-core fatigue. It's going to take a while to get in a routine, to cook all the time so we can all eat right, take the supplements when I'm supposed to, while trying to keep up with household and farm chores.

I hope there really are better days ahead. I'd hate to go through all this for nothing.

Day 1

It’s a start…

Today is the first day of a 3-month “get rid of the sugar” diet. That may sound simple, but unless you’re eating pretty basic, food that hasn’t had some form of sugar added is hard to find. Then there’s the fact you have to beat the craving for sugar. Let’s face it: sugar is addictive. The more you’re used to eating, the harder it is to give it up.

I'm also starting to add the supplements the doctor prescribed. This will take a while, as I've got several to try out. I've just got a LOT of changes to make.

It doesn’t help it’s turned cold. My body doesn’t like it. It’s been a rough day.

Maybe Day 2 will be better.

Birdie Entertainment

Earlier today I was working in the kitchen preparing lunch. Things were not going as I planned, and I was rather out of sorts. There was no doubt a black cloud over my head.

Pretty soon I heard the patter of little feet. VERY little feet. In came my parrot, looking to see what was happening. She loves to explore in the kitchen. She immediately spied an open cupboard door, and made for it as fast as her little birdie legs would take her.

I let her go, figuring she couldn't get into much trouble there, as there were some pitchers between her and the cookbooks behind (that particular cupboard opens from both sides). As usual, I was wrong. Next time I turned around and looked for her, she was gone.

I started searching and hollered, "Baby, where are you?" No doubt I sounded aggravated. VERY aggravated. The second time I said it, I heard this little voice from behind a cupboard door say, "I loooovvvvve you."

I opened the cupboard door and saw two little birdie eyes peeking back at me from her perch on top of some cookbooks. She said,"Silly bird. Step up? Step up?"

What could I do but laugh??? It's like having a little kid around who knows they got in trouble, and is looking for a way out.

She went back to her cage, and I went back to my kitchen in much better humor.